2-11 Dec 14; A Quick Trip to Florida, a Few RV Tasks, and Getting Ready for Christmas

Hey Blog Readers!  Sorry for the lapse in posting, but there really has not been too much RV Life related activity over the past days.  Terri and I were busy around the Coach on the 2nd and 3rd getting ready for a quick trip to the house in Florida.  We departed here on the 4th, and had a nice ride down.  We found a really good Audio Book for the road called Unbroken.  It is a book by Laura Hillenbrand where she details the true story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympian and WWII hero.  We wanted to read the book, as the film is coming out on Christmas day.  As stated by the author, it is a story about survival, resilience and redemption.  Do yourselves a favor and read the book…it is an amazing true story!

Things even go wrong on mechanical items besides the coach!  I noted the day before we left that no matter what temperature setting I used in the truck, the driver’s side only blew warm air.  After doing some research and checking Ford tech manuals, I determined that either the electronic actuator or the diverter (the flap that moves between warm or cool air) was not functioning for the driver’s side of the truck.  The actuator is about $36, so I thought I’d pick one up and replace it.  Easy, right??  Before ordering the part, I decided to review the process to replace this fairly inexpensive part.  The Ford tech data states labor time is 8-10 hours for an experienced repair technician with the correct tools!!  In order to get to this small part, one has to remove both front seats, the center console and the entire dash.  Yuck!  A bit beyond my mechanical skills.  I was due for a scheduled service anyway, so I took the truck to the local shop in Florida and asked them to check it out.  They did, and said they would need it for two days.  That was this past Monday, and we had intended to head back to SC on Tues, so I told them I’d re-schedule at some other time.  The weather does not require use of the AC much at this time of year, so we will survive for a while I guess.

When we arrived at our house on the 4th, things looked pretty good, well, except for the Drake Elm tree in our back yard.  Apparently there had been a significant wind storm two weeks prior, and the 30 foot tall tree definitely had  “list” to it.  We have had it braced for quite a while because it had never seemed to take a good hold.  The braces were broken off, so we decided to leave it for the night, and work on it the next day.  Wrong move…we had wind and rain overnight, and the tree was on the ground the next day, so we went into the tree removal business.  It didn’t take too long, and we got it all cut up and out of the ground in a day.  We also did a lot of other things to keep the place spiffed up as it is still on the market.

It was a great trip, as we got to see a lot of our friends, stock up on honey (thanks Trase for babysitting the girls!!) go to the Company Christmas Party, catch up with everyone at Church, and see my parents and Mandi and Justin, our daughter and son-in-law.  We also got our storage unit more organized and moved some more “stuff” over there to make things easier once the house hopefully sells…please, pray this significant event happens soon, so we don’t have to make significant modifications to our RV Life plans.  Thanks!!

We departed on Tuesday morning, and had a great trip back North.  The Coach was in great shape and everything survived on its own while we were gone.  Jason stopped by a few times to make sure everything looked good.  I’d left him with a full set of keys (I thought) before I left, but due to my “Dumb Ron-Ness,” I didn’t realize there were no keys for the door on the set I gave him…Duh!!  It was awesome to see Jason and his family again, even though we hadn’t been gone long.  Logan has changed a lot in a week, and it was great to be able to take Peyton to School again and spend time with her.  She has started calling me “Pa,” rather than Grampa.  We will see if that sticks or not.

Tech Tip:  Knowing your temperatures in your bays are above freezing is a good thing!  It has been in the low 30’s and high 20’s at night here, and even though the freeze protection systems have worked well, I wanted to make sure that the bay with the reeled water hose next to the wet bay (where the freeze protection is located) is staying above freezing as well.  While we were at the house, I grabbed my ACU RITE indoor/outdoor thermometer.  When we got back, I placed the outdoor sensor in the bay in question, and it works great.  It got down to 28 degrees last night, and the coldest it got in the bay was 44 degrees.  Nice!  Here is a shot of the ACU RITE:

I really like this.  It was a Christmas present last year.  I'm searching for a way to add more sensors.

I really like this. It was a Christmas present last year. I’m searching for a way to add more sensors.

Tech Tip:  Make access to hard to get to areas easier!  I love the design of this Coach, but there are a few things that drive me nuts.  One of them has always been the access to the water filter, which is located in the wet bay behind a panel that is accessed from the bay I mentioned above.  It is a poor design, as you have to be a contortionist to get to it, and the original screws that they used have since been replaced by larger and larger screws of varying types as the holes grew when the panel would vibrate while going down the road.  I recalled we had a roll of Velcro, so here are some photo’s of what I did…it’s not Rocket Scientificry:

Here is a shot of the water filter in the wet bay, located behind the removed panel.

Here is a shot of the water filter in the wet bay, located behind the removed panel.

How many more different sizes of screws could they have used??

How many more different sizes of screws could they have used??

This is the back of the panel after I applied the Velcro.  I didn't cover the screw holes in case my little experiment does not work.

This is the back of the panel after I applied the Velcro. I didn’t cover the screw holes in case my little experiment does not work.

Here the panel is back in place.  I can reach it from the bay entrance and pull it off rather than having to crawl in sideways, lay partially upside down and take screws out.  It seems very sturdy, but the test will come when we motor down the road a ways.

Here the panel is back in place. I can reach it from the bay entrance and pull it off rather than having to crawl in sideways, lay partially upside down and take screws out. It seems very sturdy, but the test will come when we motor down the road a ways.

Recycled Tech Tip:  A lot of folks have issues with moisture build-up when they run their Coach heater.  We used to wake up in the morning to the inside of the windshield completely covered with water droplets.  I was listening to a Pod Cast of Living The RV Dream a while back, and heard John and Kathy Huggins talking about how they always (24/7/365) leave their roof vents cracked a bit.  We started doing this about a month ago, and we have not had any moisture build-up issues in the Coach since…not even when taking a shower!  This is a great thing…as I’ve mentioned many, many times, water in a Coach can be a killer.  I’m really glad I installed vent covers back in August, so we can have the vents open in any weather.

Elfster:  I’ve known about this website for a while, and our kids have used it for a few years to conduct their gift exchange at Christmas.  Terri and I decided to join them this year.  We really want to find ways to focus on the reason for the season, and take pressure off of the seeming insaneness associated with “presents” consuming the season.  This way everyone has only one gift to focus on (for one family anyway) and hopefully this will free up time put more focus where it should be at this time of year.  Check out Elfster.com when you get a chance…it’s pretty kewl…

Decorating the RV:  How do you do that with hardly any space?  Well, you don’t overdo it I guess.  We never have.  I’ve been accused of being a Grinch at this time of year, as I really get miffed with the commercialization of the Holiday.  That being said, we do decorate a bit.  We have 4 ornaments, two stockings, and 2 small nativity scenes.  Here is a shot of our “mantle.”

It is actually the window valence, since we do not have a fireplace.  I wonder if Santa will be able to fit down the vent pipe, and what his reaction will be if he lands in the black tank??

It is actually the window valence, since we do not have a fireplace. Go Pack GO!!  I wonder if Santa will be able to fit down the vent pipe, and what his reaction will be if he lands in the black tank??

Well, that’s it for now.  Terri has been very busy today with laundry, decorating, and re-organizing our “home.”  We brought a bit more “stuff” back with us, including her sewing machine, and she is doing a fantastic job of making it all fit.  It is amazing how many times you move things around until you realize what you need most often and where the best place to store everything is.  Jason should have some time off soon, so we will once again attack the electronics.  I hope to have some success stories to tell after we get everything hooked up and in place.  Merry Christmas!

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